At a press conference today, leaders of five organizations of the survivors of the December 1984 Bhopal Gas Disaster expressed condolences for the victims of the earthquake and Tsunami in Japan and expressed concerns over the ongoing nuclear disaster. The leaders also demanded immediate suspension of work on the Jaitapur plant and independent review of proposed nuclear reactors in six locations within India.
Rashida Bee of Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh said that the city in which over 24,000 people have died and many are still dying, can feel the pain of relatives and friends of the thousands of Japanese people who have died due to the Tsunami and earthquake. She expressed hope that the people from all over the world will help the thousands affected to rebuild their lives. She said that by causing irreparable damage to the world environment large corporations are causing and heightening the impact of natural disasters.
Balkrishna Namdeo of Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pension Bhogi Sangharsh Morcha expressed grave concerns on the ongoing exposure of workers and others to nuclear radiation and the contamination of food and water. He said that the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry which is responsible for nuclear energy production has been covering up nuclear accidents and obscuring the true costs and problems associated with the nuclear industry. On behalf of the survivors of Bhopal he demanded that the Japanese government release factual information on the levels of radiation in and around the nuclear plant in Fukushima.
Pointing out similarities of the locations of the Fukushima and the proposed Jaitapur nuclear power plant, Satinath Sarangi of the Bhopal Group for Information & Action demanded immediate suspension of work on the project. He said that Jaitapur is located around the coast line and as per the figures of Geological Survey of India it has witnessed 92 earthquakes from 1985 to 2009.
Sarangi called for independent review of the proposed nuclear power plants in Chutkha (Madhya Pradesh), Haripur (West Bengal), Mithi Virdi (Gujarat), Pitti Sonapur (Orissa), and Kowada (Andhra Pradesh). “The Fukushima disaster has highlighted the importance of public knowledge concerning all aspects of the nuclear industry. The Atomic Energy Regulatory Board being part of the Department of Atomic Energy is not an independent body and the Indian people cannot rely on it for authentic information.
Safreen Khan of Children Against Dow-Carbide called for independent scientific investigations into the operation and impact of the 19 reactors currently operating in various parts of India. She said that there has been no official study yet on the health effects including birth defects and cancer in the communities around these nuclear plants.
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha
Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pension Bhogi Sangharsh Morcha
Satinath Sarangi, Rachna Dhingra,
Bhopal Group for Information and Action
Children Against Dow Carbide